Who: Baylor Bears vs Washington Huskies
Where: Alamodome (San Antonio, Texas)
When: Thurs, Dec 29th at 9:00 PM EST
Baylor Bears (9-3, 6-3 in Big 12)
Most impressive victory: 45-38 vs Oklahoma (Nov 19th)
Worst loss: 55-28 at Texas A&M (Oct 15th)
Notable alumni: Michael Johnson, Vinnie Johnson, Mike Singletary, Trey Wingo
Art Briles went just 4-8 in his first two seasons at Baylor but behind Heisman Trophy Winner Robert Griffin III, Baylor has burst onto the National scene. It all started on Friday September 2nd when Baylor upended TCU 50-48 in a wild shootout. That put RG3 and Baylor on the map and while they were a bit up and down they would burst back into the picture on Nov 19th. That was when RG3 struck his “Heisman” moment as he stuck a dagger in the heart of Bob Stoops on a last second TD pass to shock the Sooners.
This Baylor team is all about offense. They are 7th in the Nation in scoring, 18th in rushing yards and 5th in passing. RG3 is a tremendous player and is a difference maker but it’s not all about him and his superman socks. Baylor also has some great talent in WR Kendall Wright (101 receptions), WR Terrance Williams (53 receptions) and RB Terrance Ganaway (1347 yards rushing). Look for Baylor to put up some big numbers against this Washington defense.
Washington Huskies (7-5, 5-4 in Pac-12)
Most impressive victory: 31-14 at Utah (Oct 1st)
Worst loss: 38-21 at Oregon State (Nov 19th)
Notable alumni: Don Coryell, Kenny G, Bruce Lee, Tim Lincecum, Jim L Mora, Nate Robinson, Bob Sapp, Hope Solo, Kim Thayil, Rainn Wilson
If I would have looked at the schedule at the beginning of the year and projected out the Huskies W-L it would have ended up just about like it did. They predictably lost to Nebraska, Stanford, Oregon and USC. The only one that was questionable was Oregon State because of how down the Beavers were this year.
Offensively, Washington has a pretty good team under Steve Sarkisian. They finished 5th in the Pac-12 with 31.5 ppg under a first-year QB in soph Keith Price. Price had a very impressive TD to INT ratio of 29 to 12 for a first year starter. Where the Huskies should be worried in this one is on defense. I think they are going to have a lot of trouble stopping RG3 and the Baylor attack. Washington is giving up 33.3 points per game, which is more than they scored this year. They are also 11th in the Pac-12 in passing defense yielding 283.8 ypg. Did I mention the Huskies are dead last in 3rd conversions giving up over 49% success rate to their opponents? They are also 111th in opponent red zone conversions letting opponents score 9 out of every 10 times they are in the red zone. There are only 15 teams in the FBS that have let their opponents in the red zone this year as often as Washington has (of course, Baylor is one of those teams so the score boards should light up in this one).
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Kevin: Everything points to Baylor in this one (besides the Baylor defense). The one moment of pause I have is how Washington played against Nebraska in their bowl last year. Sarkisian will have his team ready to play so Baylor can’t just expect to show up and win the game by walking on the field. That being said, I think Baylor will be up to the task and will be ready for a shoot-out. This should be a fun one if yo ulike offense.
Baylor 41 Washington 27